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The Coming Back Out Ball
THE COMING BACK OUT BALL is an observational feature documentary that follows LGBTI elders who have been invited to attend a Ball celebrating their gender and sexual identities. In the face of ageing and isolation, our LGBTI elders seize each day with humour and determination. With the advent of the Ball, these elders’ lives begin to change as they find hope, acceptance and love in their twilight years.

Producers Adam Farrington-Williams, Sue Thomson, Roger Monk & Tristan Meecham

Executive Producers Michael McMahon, Shaun Miller, Tony Nagle

Directed by Sue Thomson

Image: LGBTI Elders Dance Club by All The Queens Men. (C) Photo by Bryony Jackson.


How does the project meet the aims of a philanthropic foundation?

THE COMING BACK OUT BALL feature documentary is an important project that spotlights a number of key themes in the social issue space. The treatment of and the lack of consideration for elderly LGBTI people in aged care facilities; the marginalisation of the LGBTI community, both historically and in the present day; the importance of access to the arts for the elderly; LGBTI welfare; and the importance of community inclusion and acceptance.
Aims & Objectives

What outcomes do you hope to achieve by making this film and how will you measure its impact?

Each of the filmmakers outreach goals start at a national level, but with international distribution, we see international scope for creating change. 

The filmmakers have outlined very specific distribution and outreach goals for The Coming Back Out Ball, including:

•increasing social awareness of LGBTI aged care discrimination and helping to ensure health care operators are held accountable for proactive and inclusive policy. 

•encouraging legislative change in the aged care space to ensure health care operators have proactive and inclusive policy towards all their potential residents. The use of education is fundamental to the shift towards positive policy and the stories in the film will highlight the complex considerations of a variety of people in the LGBTI community. 

•raising social and cultural awareness of historical LGBTI discrimination within an Australian context. The Marriage Equality campaign is also featured in the film as a traumatic and poignant parallel with the historical discrimination faced by our elderly participants.

•raising social and political awareness of the mental health ramifications on Australians facing discrimination, particularly the ageing population going into aged care.



What is your education and outreach strategy?

With the film’s premiere at one of the world’s most acclaimed film festivals, the Melbourne International Film Festival, The Coming Back Out Ball has the perfect platform to achieve its social, cultural and legislative outreach goals.

The Andrews State Government and the City of Melbourne supported the Ball itself. With these existing state and local government relationships, there lies a terrific and realistic opportunity for community engagement with education and outreach far beyond our local communities and indeed reach a national and global level. 

Community outreach screenings held in conjunction with the theatrical release of the film will educate, promote conversations and create a platform for legislative and cultural change, particularly involving issues of LGBTI aged care, historical discrimination, marginalisation, isolation and the ongoing mental health issues that casts a dark shadow over the complexities of these people’s lives. 

Governmental and LGBTI-friendly community organizations will be sought to partner with to promote screenings and scaffold expert education, as well as maximizing audiences, via tapping into the existing reach of each organization such as schools, the health care industry and both corporate and local business. These screenings will be held across the country, in strategic rural and urban areas.

The finished film of The Coming Back Out Ball will be used as a tool to achieve social, cultural and legislative impact and change. Legislative change is easier to measure, but social and cultural change can only be measured by ensuring we maximize the audiences that see our film.

Sue Thomson
Adam Farrington-Williams, Sue Thomson
Total budget
80 Minutes